Kipsang plots a world record on debut at Tokyo Marathon

Nairobi, Feb 17 (IANS) For two years, former Olympic bronze medallist Wilson Kipsang of Kenya has come close to winning a marathon but failed owing to strong competition and injury.

However, with the injuries gone and having retained his fitness, the 34-year-old is dreaming of returning to the winner’s podium and wants to do it in style by breaking the current world record when he competes at the Tokyo marathon on February 26, reports Xinhua news agency.

“I always believe in myself and the ability of my body to take the challenge irrespective of who I compete against. Running fast is also a hobby I like and it will be nice to see an attempt on the world record in Japan,” he said on Friday from Eldoret.

It will be the first time that Kipsang will be running in Tokyo and Japan for that matter. However, his inexperience in the country is not a concern to him as he seeks to turn around his career, which has seen him miss out on the podium for the last two years.

His last marathon win came in New York in November 2014.

Dennis Kimetto shattered Kipsang’s marathon record three years ago in Berlin when he won in 2:02:57 hours, becoming the first man to run under the two hours and three minutes.

Kipsang’s record of 2:03:23 had only lasted one year, having broken Patrick Makau’s time of 2:03:38.

The earlier record was held by Paul Tergat in 2004 also from Berlin on 2:04:54. An effort by Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele to break the record in January in Dubai flopped when he pulled out injured after 30km.

Sports manufacturing firm Nike is also assembling three athletes led by Olympic and London marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge to try and break the title in April and Kipsang wants to take the bar higher for the trio in Tokyo.

“Tokyo has a fast course and other athletes have run faster there setting time of 2:05. It shows that it is a fast course and with the right conditions, everyone has a chance to improve on it and set a world record.

“In every race I compete in, there is no holding back. I go for a fast time and always try to run my best,” said Kipsang in Eldoret.

His manager Van Der Veen of Volare Sports said it was attainable to break the world record as long as the athletes keep their focus and work towards the same goal.

“I plan to try and break the record because it is a flat course and weather conditions permitting, then there should be no holding back,” said Kipsang.

“Nobody could believe someone could run 2:03:03 but the record was almost broken. So it all up there for anyone to take.”

Kipsang will line up against 2014 Tokyo Marathon champion Dickson Chumba, 2008 Olympic and 2009 world bronze medallist Tsegaye Kebede, 2013 world bronze medallist Tadese Tola and Kenya’s Bernard Koech, all of whom have PBs faster than 2:05.

–IANS

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